Gill Howe, Farm Shop Manager (left) with the other judges in her team.
On 26th November 2015, Aston Marina Director Helen Webb and Farm Shop Manager Gill Howe were invited onto the judging panel at the World Cheese Awards. Here Helen recounts a day to remember…
After rather an early start to beat the M6 queues en-route to the NEC, we arrived at the BBC Good Food Show in our VIP capacity – excited, yet somewhat nervous, ahead of our first official judging experience. However, on being introduced to the other judges we were quickly put at ease, knowing that we had a fun day ahead of us in the company of some fascinating foodie people who are as passionate as we are about quality produce.
With a total number of 2,727 cheeses under scrutiny at this year’s awards, we were responsible for judging seven categories. My personal favourite was a controversial choice – it was a soft, camembert-style ewe’s milk cheese with truffles. Simply delicious, it’s not even available in the UK (we can only get Brie with Truffles at Christmas) and it won me over for being so beautifully unusual and luxurious, with real pieces of truffle embedded throughout. Gill’s favourite was a more popular choice – Le Gruyere Premier Cru – a fantastic, well-rounded cheese you could eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper, and which was eventually named Supreme Champion.
With a final sixteen cheeses taken forward to the Super Jury for final judging, it’s safe to say I’ve never eaten as much cheese in my life as I did that day – and we loved every second!
Of the award-winners you can find a number on our cheese board – including a previous supreme champion winner Montagnolo, and super gold winner, Montgomery’s Cheddar.